Girish Vashisht

Wildlife Service Awards (2003)

A frontline defender of the tiger, Range Officer Vashisht is part of an effective team of forest guards, rangers and officers that have restored the bamboo jungles of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve. Known for his tough, uncompromising ways, he was posted to Tadoba in 1997, where, apart from anti-poaching work, he dedicated himself to improving the soil and moisture conditions of the forest, using ancient strategies successfully employed for aeons in India. As a result, streams and rivulets began to run full for longer each year, encouraging prey populations to rise. This directly benefitted tigers and has made Tadoba one of the finest tiger reserves in India.

Tough about enforcing wildlife laws, he is also sensitive to the situation in which local villagers find themselves. Fiercely committed to the tiger, he believes that if our forests are to be protected, it is essential to properly equip and protect forest guards and foresters, the real foot soldiers in the battle to save India’s wildlife. Today, his concerns for the future of Tadoba revolve around protecting it from poachers, coal mines and timber smugglers.